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Floristry, flower arranging, floral arrangement, floral design or floral arts is the art of creating flower arrangements in vases, bowls and baskets, or making bouquets and compositions from cut flowers, foliage, herbs, ornamental grasses and other botanical materials. Often the terms "floral design" and "floristry" are considered synonymous. Florists are people who work with flowers and plants, generally at the retail level. The term is not to be confused with floristics. Floristry is also not to be confused with horticulture.

Floristry is sometimes used as an umbrella term referring to the cultivation of flowers as well as their arrangement, rather than solely to the business of selling them. However, the floral industry is the basic drive behind floristry. Florist shops, along with online stores are the main flower-only outlets, but supermarkets, garden supply stores and many filling stations also sell flowers.

The Craft and Business

The craft of floristry involves various skills. These include selecting flowers that will look good together (based on principles of design or general instinct), knowing how to cut, treat, and arrange flowers and other stock plants so they will remain fresh as long as possible, and (as explained above) selling them, which involves knowledge of customer requirements and expectations. Knowing how to form wreaths, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres/'buttonholes', artificial arrangements and other more complicated arrangements is also important. Wreaths can be made out of many different types of flowers and plants, and often include ribbon and artificial product.

The flowers sold in florist shops typically represent the varieties abundantly available in the season but also include blossoms flown in from around the world. Basic varieties include roses, tulips, irises, orchids and lilies. Fashion sometimes plays a role in floristry; what is considered the flower that everyone needs to have today can change very quickly.

Some shops also stock Gift Baskets, fruit, and chocolates as well as flowers, where as some shops will purchase these things only when needed for an order. Floral business is seasonal and is heavily influenced by the following holidays and events: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Administrative Professionals' Day, Mothers' Day, All Souls Day, Advent, Easter, weddings and funerals.[1] These occasions make up the largest part of the business, with the sale of house plants and home decor being a smaller, but more constant, part. Flowers for personal enjoyment as well as those selected to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, thank-you's and get well wishes are also a significant portion of a florist's business.

The floral business has been impacted significantly by the corporate and social event world in as much as flowers play a large part in the decor of special events and meetings. Centerpieces, entryways, reception tables, bridal bouquets, wedding chuppahs and stage sets and only a few examples of how flowers are used in the business and social event arenas.

Styles of Floristry

Many nations have their own style of floral arranging.


Ikebana is a Japanese style of floral design, noted for its simplicity and purity of lines and colors. Often Ikebana designs feature sticks and branches such as willow.

English Country Garden

English Country Garden is traditionally an English form of designing, but also includes many popular European influences, such as France and Holland. These designs are often done as low mounds, or taller vase arrangements that are all-sided (360°). Many florists that follow this design style do not use Baby's Breath, Carnations and Leatherleaf.

High Style

High Style is a form of design originating from the United States. These designs often include a 'less is more' motto. Flowers that are popular among High Style Florists include many tropical flowers such as Birds of Paradise and Anthuriums, and also more popular flowers such as Carnations.

The Flower Market/Auction

A basic requirement of florist shops is the purchasing of flowers to replenish their stock. The flower market, like other agriculture markets, is subject to many fluctuations due to natural factors, supply and demand, and fashion. Learning how to buy in such a way as to continue to make a profit is not a simple skill. In North America, the largest and most prominent[2] flower auction is the UFG (United Flower Growers), located in Burnaby, BC, Canada. There are many flower auctions and markets located in Holland, for example, VBA (Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer).

Shop Layout

Generally, a florist's shop will contain a large array of flowers, sometimes displayed on the street, or will have a large plate glass window to display the flowers. To keep them fresh, the flowers will be inside of a fridge and kept in water, generally in glass, plastic or metal vases, sleeves, or other containers. Most shops have a fridge near the front of the store with large glass doors so that customers can easily view the contents. Some shops also have another fridge out of the customers view where they keep extra stock, and arrangements for customers orders. Most stores will have a back section in which the designers can work on orders with more privacy.

Significance of particular flowers

Typically, a florist will organize flowers by season and holiday.

Flowers have various different meanings in different cultures. The holidays and events for which flowers are used vary. Poppies are used to remember fallen soldiers only in England and the Commonwealth countries. The cultural meaning of colors also strongly affects the choice and use of flowers. People often prefer flowers that are associated with their ethnic group or country, and various colors may have special meanings of luck or death or love or other basic human traits. A flower such as a red rose might to some mean love, but to others it might be considered indecent or simply puzzling. The vastly divergent views on the color white can lead to major flower issues. White is viewed as standing for death in many Asian cultures but is considered a symbol of purity and innocence in many European and American cultures. Such differences can lead to difficult issues when a bouquet of white lilies, for example, is delivered.

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web has had a significant impact on traditional florists, with the North American market experiencing a more than 20% decline in traditional, independently owned flower shops since 1998. Purchases from shops are slowly being overtaken by online flower delivery ordering and floral wire services. However, some independent florists have taken to having their own online store, where customers can order online instead of the telephone, which is most the common means of receiving orders.